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  • 1876
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therewith, and in contradiction to the covenanted testimony of the church of _Scotland_, continue to adopt the constitution of the State, as being, however defective, yet agreeable to the precept and so lawful. Hence, they are still most partial in their testimony, of which they have given a fresh and notable proof, in forementioned warning published by them: wherein though there are a variety of evils condescended upon, as just grounds of the Lord’s controversy with the nations, yet there is not that faithfulness used therein, in a particular charging home of the several sins mentioned, upon every one in their different ranks, as, in agreeableness to the word of God, is requisite to work a conviction in every one, that they may turn from their sins, and as might correspond to the title given that performance. Thus, passing other instances that might also have been observed, they justly remark, _page_ 31st, “The glorious sovereignty of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the alone King and Head of his church, is sadly encroached upon and opposed by the royal supremacy, in causes ecclesiastical. The king is acknowledged as supreme head, or governor on earth, of the churches of _England_ and _Ireland_. The civil sovereign is thus declared to be the head or fountain of church power, from whence all authority and ministrations in these churches do spring, is vested with all powers of government and discipline, and constituted the sole judge of controversies within the same.” “The established Church of _Scotland_ have also, by some particular managements, subjected and subordinated their ecclesiastical meetings to the civil power.” But while they acknowledge this to be the sin of the church, and an high provocation against the Lord; yet, as to the particular sin of the civil power, in assuming and usurping this Erastian supremacy unto itself, they are quite silent. They have not the faithfulness to say, in their warning, to the robber of Christ, in this matter, as once the prophet of the Lord said to the king of _Israel_, in another case, _Thou art the man_. On the contrary (which cannot but have a tendency to ward off any conviction of his sin that this warning, should it come into his hands, might be expected to work), they are guilty of the basest flattery, used by court parasites, stiling him, “the best of kings, of the mildest administration,” as in _page_ 13th; and acknowledge it, as a particular effect of the Lord’s goodness, that we are privileged with such an one. But is he indeed deserving of such a character? better than which could not be given to the most faithful ruler, devoting all his power, as in duty bound, to the support and advancement of the kingdom and interest of Jesus Christ, that over reigned. Does he really merit such an encomium, who sacrilegiously usurps and wears the crown, that alone can flourish on the head of _Zion’s_ king? And is this such a blessing to the church, that an enemy to her Lord and Head rules over her? Oh! may not the Lord say? “I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright.”

6. The Presbytery testify against said Seceding party, because of the sinfulness of their terms of ministerial and Christian communion, as being partly destructive of that liberty wherewith Christ has made his people free. By which they have both imposed upon themselves, and shut the door of access unto the privileges of the church, upon all such, as, in a consistency with their adherence to truth and duty, cannot accept of their unwarrantable restrictions. Of this, they gave early discoveries, as appears from the known instance of that notable, backslider, Mr. _Andrew Clarkson_, whom they obliged, before license, to make a public and solemn renunciation of his former principles and profession, respecting the covenanted reformation.[4] As also, their rejecting all accessions from his _Laodicean_ brethren, wherein was contained an explicit adherence to the same, until they did drop their former testimony. This blind zeal in _Seceders_, against a testimony for truth in its purity, did gradually increase, until it hurried them on to a more particular and formal stating of their terms of communion, whereby were totally excluded all the free and faithful of the land from their communion, who could not approve of, nor swear the bond, whereby they pretended to renew the covenants: as in their act at _Edinburgh_, 1744; wherein they did resolve and determine, “That the renovation of the National Covenant of _Scotland_, and the Solemn League and Covenant of the three nations, in the manner now agreed upon, and proposed by the Presbytery, shall be the terms of ministerial communion with this Presbytery, and likewise of Christian communion, in admission of people to sealing ordinances; secluding therefrom all opposers, contemners, and slighters of the said renovation of our solemn covenants.” By this act, _Seceders_ have obliged their adherents to consent to their infamous burial of our national covenants with the Lord, and reformation therein sworn to, particularly as they were renewed, both 1638 and 1648. And that they might further evince their resolution to bear down the foresaid work, they afterward proceeded to subjoin unto their _formula_ of questions to be put to candidates before license, and to probationers before ordination, the following questions, viz., “Are you satisfied with, and do you propose to adhere unto, and maintain the principles about the present civil government, which are declared and maintained in the _Associate Presbytery’s_ answers to Mr. _Nairn_, with their defense thereunto subjoined?” Whereby, in opposition to the professed endeavors for the revival of a covenanted reformation in the lands, they expressly bind down all their intrants into the office of the ministry, to an explicit acknowledgement of their anti-government scheme of principles anent the ordinance of magistracy; and thereby to an acknowledging of the lawfulness of a government, which themselves confess has not only departed from, and neglected their duty of espousing and supporting the covenanted principles of this church, but also opposed, contradicted and overthrown the glorious reformation once established in these nations. A government, under which, as they profess, the nations cannot be enriched by the blessings of the gospel; and that, because it does not, in all the appurtenances of its constitution and administration, run in agreeableness to the word of God. By all which it appears that although they refuse formally to swear any oaths of allegiance to the powers in being; yet they do materially, and with great solemnity, engage themselves to be true and faithful to a government, under which, and while it stands, they are certain, if their concessions hold true, that they shall never see the nations flourish, either in their temporal or spiritual interests. It is only needful further to observe, that _Seceders_ in the terms of their communion, by debarring from the table of the Lord, all who impugn the lawfulness of a prelatic, Erastian government (as is notourly known they do), make subjection and loyalty to such an authority, a necessary, and, to them, commendatory qualification of worthy receivers of the Lord’s supper, although none of those qualifications–required by God in his word. While (as has been already observed) they, with the most violent passion, refuse to admit the professing and practicing the true religion, a necessary qualification of lawful civil rulers over a people possessed of and professing the true religion, which is in effect to deny the necessity of religion altogether as to civil rulers, than which nothing can be more absurd.

_Lastly_, not to multiply more particulars, the Presbytery testify against the scandalous abuse, and sinful prostitution of church discipline, and tyranny in government, whereby the forementioned party have remarkably signalized themselves; and which, in a most precipitant and arbitrary manner, they have pretended to execute against such as have discovered the smallest degree of faithfulness, in endeavoring to maintain the principles of our reformation, in agreeableness to the true state of the covenanted testimony of the Church of _Scotland_; which has not only appeared in the case of _David Leslie_, and some others, on account of a paper of grievances given in to said Associates; against whom they proceeded to the sentence of excommunication, without using those formalities and means of conviction required and warranted by the church’s Head, even in the case of just offenses done by any of the professed members of his mystical body; or so much as allowing that common justice to the sentenced party, that might be expected from any judicatory, bearing the name of Presbyterian. (Though the Presbytery are not hereby to be understood as approving every expression contained in foresaid paper.) But particularly, they have given notable proof of their fixed resolution, to bear down all just appearances in favor of _Zion’s_ King and cause, in the case of Mr. _Nairn_, once of their number, because of his espousing the principles of this Presbytery, especially, respecting God’s ordinance of magistracy, against whom they proceeded to the highest censures of the church, upon the footing of a pretended libel; in which libel, they did not so much as pretend any immorality in practice, or yet error in principle, as the ground of their arbitrary procedure, further than his espousing the received principles of this church in her best times, and what stood in necessary connection with such a profession: although, in adorable providence, he has since been left to fall into the practice of such immorality, as has justly rendered him the object of church censure by this Presbytery. As also in the case of Messrs. _Alexander Marshall_, and _John Cuthbertson_, with some others, elders and private Christians, against whom they proceeded in a most unaccountable, anti-scriptural, and unprecedented manner, and upon no better foundation, than that noticed in the case above, pretended to depose and cast such out of the communion of their church, as never had subjected to their authority, nor formerly stood in any established connection with them.

And further, besides these instances condescended upon, they habitually aggravate their abuse of the ordinances of Christ’s house, in pretending to debar and excommunicate from the holy sacrament of the supper, many of the friends and followers of the Lamb, only because they cannot conscientiously, and in a consistency with their fidelity to their Head and Savior, acknowledge the authority of the usurpers of his crown as lawful. From all which, and every other instance of their continued prostitution of the discipline instituted by Christ in his church, and of that authority, which he, as a Son over his own house, has given unto faithful gospel ministers, to the contempt and scorn of an ungodly generation; the Presbytery cannot but testify against them, as guilty of exercising a tyrannical power over the heritage of the Lord; and to whom may too justly be applied, the word of the Lord, spoken by his prophet, _Isa._ lxvi, 5: “Your brethren that bated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.” Wherefore, and for all the foresaid grounds, the Presbytery find and declare, that the pretended _Associate Presbytery_, now called _Synod_, whether before or since, in their separate capacity, claiming a parity of power, neither were, nor are lawful and rightly constituted courts of the Lord Jesus Christ, according to his word, and to the testimony of the true Presbyterian Covenanted Church of Christ in _Scotland_: and therefore ought not, nay cannot, in a consistency with bearing a faithful testimony for the covenanted truths, and cause of our glorious Redeemer, be countenanced or submitted to in their authority by his people.

Again, the Presbytery find themselves in duty obliged to testify against these brethren who some time ago have broken off from their communion, for their unwarrantable separation, and continued opposition to the truth and testimony, in the hands of this Presbytery, even to the extent of presuming, in a judicial capacity, to threaten church censure against the Presbytery, without alleging so much as any other reason for this strange procedure, than their refusing to approve as truth, a point of doctrine, that stands condemned by the standards of the Reformed Church of _Scotland_, founded on the authority of divine revelation. But, as the Presbytery have formerly published a vindication of the truth maintained by them, and of their conduct, respecting the subject matter of difference with their _quondam_ brethren, they refer to said vindication, for a more particular discovery of the error of their principle, and extravagance of their conduct in this matter. And particularly, they testify against the more avowed apostasy of some of these brethren, who are not ashamed to declare their backslidings in the streets, and publish them upon the house tops; as especially appears from a sermon entitled, _Bigotry Disclaimed_–together with the vindication of said sermon; wherein is vented such a loose and latitudinarian scheme of principles, on the point of church communion, as had a native tendency to destroy the scriptural boundaries thereof, adopted by this church in her most advanced purity; and which is also inconsistent with the ordination vows, whereby the author was solemnly engaged. This, with other differences, best known to themselves, occasioned a rupture in that pretended Presbytery, which for some years subsisted: but this breach being some considerable time ago again cemented, they constituted themselves in their former capacity, upon terms (as appears from a printed account of their agreement and constitution, which they have never yet disclaimed as unjust) not very honorable nor consistent with their former principles and professed zeal for maintaining the same. Which agreement was made up, without any evidence of the above author’s retracting his lax principles, contained in the foresaid sermon. Whatever was the cause, whether from the influence of others (as was said by the publisher of their agreement), or from a consciousness of dropping part of formerly received principles, is not certain; but one of these brethren, for a time, gave up with further practical communion with the other, namely, Mr. _Hugh Innes_, late of the _Calton, Glasgow_; while yet it was observed, that both used a freedom, not formerly common to them, anent the present authority, in their public immediate addresses to the object of worship; which, together with their apparent resiling from part of their former testimony occasioned stumbling to some of their people, and terminated in the separation of others. Foresaid latitudinarianism and falling away, is also sadly verified, in the conduct of another principal member of their pretended Presbytery, who has professedly deserted all testimony bearing for the reformation principles of the Covenanted Church of _Scotland_.[5]

At last, after their declared interviews for that purpose, these brethren have patched up a mank agreement, which they have published, in a paper entitled _Abstract of the covenanted principles of the Church of Scotland, &c._, with a prefixed advertisement in some copies, asserting the removal of their differences, which arose from a sermon on _Psal._ cxxii, 3, published at _Glasgow_,–by a disapprobation of what is implied in some expressions hereof, viz., “That all the members of Christ’s mystical body may, and ought to unite in visible church communion.”

Here is, indeed, a smooth closing of the wound that should have been more thoroughly searched, that, by probing into the practical application of said sermon, the corrupt matter of communion with the Revolution Church, in the gospel and sealing ordinance thereof, might have been found out; but not one word of this in all that abstract, which contains their grounds of union, and terms of communion. Nothing of the above author’s recanting his former latitudinarian practices of hearing, and thereby practically encouraging, that vagrant Episcopalian, _Whitefield_; his communicating, which natively implies union, with the Revolution Church, in one of the seals of the covenant; nor his public praying for an Erastian government, in a way, and for a reason, that must needs be understood as an homologation of their authority. On which accounts, the Presbytery testify against said union, as being inconsistent with faithfulness in the cause of Christ; and against said abstract, as, however containing a variety of particulars very just and good, yet bearing no positive adherence to, nor particular mention of, faithful wrestlings and testimonies of the martyrs and witnesses for _Scotland’s_ covenanted cause. As also, they testify against the notorious disingenuity of their probationer, who, after a professed dissatisfaction on sundry occasions, with the declining steps of said brethren, particularly with the declaimer against bigotry, has overlooked more weighty matters, and embraced a probability of enjoying the long grasped for privilege of ordination, though it should be observed at a greater expense than that of disappointing the expectation of a few dissatisfied persons, who depended upon his honesty, after they had broken up communion with those he continues still to profess his subjection unto.

And further, the Presbytery testify against the adherents of foresaid brethren, in strengthening their hands in their course of separation from the Presbytery, rejecting both their judicial and ministerial authority, and the ordinances of the gospel dispensed by them. And more especially, the Presbytery condemn the conduct of such of them as, professedly dissatisfied with the above said left-hand extremes, and other defections of foresaid brethren, have therefore broken off from their communion; yet, instead of returning to their duty in a way of subjecting themselves to the courts of Christ, and ordinances instituted by him in his church, have turned back again to their own right-hand extremes of error, which once they professedly gave up, but now persist in, an obstinate impugning the validity of their ministerial authority and protestative mission, undervalue the pure ordinances of the gospel dispensed by them, and live as if there were no church of Christ in the land, where they might receive the seals of the covenant, either to themselves or their children; and therefore, in the righteous judgment of God, have been left to adopt such a dangerous and erroneous system of principles, as is a disgrace to the profession of the covenanted cause.[6]


The following supplement, having been a competent length of time before the church in _overture_, was adopted in Logan county, Ohio, May, 1850. And, although without the formality of a judicial sanction, we trust it will not be found destitute of divine authority. The design of it is to show the application of the principles of our Testimony to society, as organized in the United States. For although conventional regulations, civil and ecclesiastical, in this land, are very different from the condition of society in Great Britain, where our Testimony was first emitted, yet the corruptions of human nature, embodied in the combinations of society, are not less visible in this than in other lands, nor less hostile to the supreme authority of the Lord and his Anointed. “The beast and the false prophet” continue to be the objects of popular devotion: Rev. xix, 20.

_Cincinnati_, Nov. 12th, 1850.


Containing an application of the principles of our Covenanted Testimony to the existing condition of society in these United States.

The controversy which arose between the Associate and Reformed churches, on the doctrine of civil magistracy, was the occasion of greater divergency between them, on collateral subjects. From false principles, consistent reasoning must produce erroneous conclusions. Assuming that the Son of God, as Mediator, has nothing to do with the concerns of God’s moral government beyond the precincts of the visible church, it would follow, that church members, as citizens of the “kingdoms of this world,” neither owe him allegiance nor are bound to thank him for “common benefits.” The assumption is, however, obviously erroneous, because, as Mediator, he is “head over all things to the church,” Eph. i, 22, consequently, all people, nations and languages, are bound to obey and serve him, in this office capacity, and to thank him for his mercies.

While this controversy was keenly managed by the respective parties in the British isles, the Lord Christ interposed between the disputants, as it were, to decide the chief point in debate. By the rise of the British colonies west of the Atlantic, against the parent country, and their successful struggle to gain a national independence, a clear commentary was furnished on the long-contested principle, that, in some cases, it is lawful to resist existing civil powers. Seceders, forgetting, for the time, their favorite theory, joined their fellow colonists in casting off the yoke of British rule. Those who vehemently opposed Reformed Presbyterians, for disowning the British government, joined cheerfully in its overthrow. How fickle and inconsistent is man! During the revolutionary struggle might be witnessed the singular spectacle–humbling to the pride of human reason, revolting to the sensibilities of the exercised Christian–brethren of the same communion, on opposite sides of the Atlantic, pleading with the God of justice to give success to the respective armies! East of the ocean the petition would be, “Lord, prosper the British arms;” on the west, “Lord, favor the patriots of these oppressed colonies!” Such are the consequences natively resulting from a theory alike unscriptural and absurd–a principle deep-laid in that system of opposition to the Lord and his Anointed, emphatically styled “The Antichrist.”

Great national revolutions are special trials of the faith and patience of the saints. No firmness of character will be proof against popular opinion and example at such a time, without special aid from on high. Reformed Presbyterians in the colonies rejoiced in the success of the revolution, issuing in the independence of the United States. Their expectation of immediate advantage to the reformation cause was too sanguine. A new frame of civil polity was to be devised by the colonies, now that they were independent of the British crown. This state of things called forth the exercise of human intellect, in more than ordinary measure, to meet the emergency. Frames of national policy are apt to warp the judgment of good men. Even Christian ministers are prone to substitute the maxims of human prudence for the precepts of inspiration. Many divines conceived the idea of conforming the visible church to the model of the American republic. The plan was projected and advocated, of bringing all evangelical denominations into one confederated unity, while the integral parts should continue independent of each other. This plan would have defeated its own object, the unity of the visible church, and subverted that form of government established by Zion’s King. Upon trial by some of the New England Independents and Presbyterians, the plan has proved utterly abortive.

Prior to the Revolutionary war, a Presbytery had been constituted in America, upon the footing of the covenanted reformation. The exciting scenes and active sympathies, attendant on the Revolutionary war, added to a hereditary love of liberty, carried many covenanters away from their distinctive principles. The Reformed Presbytery was dissolved, and three ministers who belonged to it, joining some ministers of the Associate Church, formed that society, since known by the name of the Associate Reformed Church. The union was completed in the year 1782, after having been five years in agitation.

These ministers professed, as the basis of union, the Westminster standards; but the abstract of principles, which they adopted as the more immediate bond of coalescence, discovered, to discerning spectators, that the individuals forming the combination, were by no means unanimous in their views of the doctrines taught in those standards. Indeed, there were certain sections of the Confession _reserved_ for future discussion, which, in process of time, were wholly rejected. This attack upon a document, venerable not so much for its age as its scriptural character, gave rise to zealous opposition by some in the body, and ultimately resulted in a rupture. Two ministers dissented from the majority, left their communion, and proceeded to erect a new organization, styled “The Reformed Dissenting Presbytery.” This was in the year 1801. At this date, there were four denominations, in the United States, claiming to be the legitimate successors of the British reformers, viz., the Associate, Reformed, Associate Reformed, and Reformed Dissenting Presbyterians. Three of these professedly appear under the banner of a standing judicial testimony, which they severally emitted to the public. The Associate Reformed Church, by judicial declaration and uniform practice, is opposed to this method of testimony-bearing.

The Reformed Presbytery, which had been dissolved by the defection of the ministry, during the Revolutionary war, was reorganized toward the close of the eighteenth century. The troubles in Ireland, when the inhabitants united for the purpose of gaining independence of the British crown, were the occasion of bringing strength to the church in America. Reformed Presbyterians, feeling sensibly with others the arm of British tyranny, joined interests hastily with Papists and others, in one sworn association, for the purpose of overturning the existing government by force of arms. The enterprise, as might have been expected, was unsuccessful; Isa. viii, 11, 12; Obadiah 7; 2 Cor. vi, 17. Many fled to the asylum which God had provided, shortly before, in America. Among the refugees were some of the Covenanters, by which the church was strengthened in her ministry and membership.

Early in the nineteenth century, measures were taken by the Reformed Presbytery, in the United States, for re-exhibiting the principles of a covenanted reformation, in a judicial way. Accordingly, in the year 1806, the Presbytery published, as adopted, a work entitled “Reformation Principles Exhibited”–a book which has ever since been popularly called the American Testimony. The familiar designation, _Testimony_, the general complexion of the book, the orthodox aspect of terms, and even most of the leading sentiments of the work, gave it currency, and rendered it generally acceptable to pious and intelligent Covenanters. And however it seemed to the unsuspecting to sustain, it eventually and effectually supplanted the Scottish Testimony. The men who had the principal hand in giving shape and direction to the principles and practice of Covenanters in the United States, at that time, were located in some of the most populous and commercial cities on the Atlantic coast, where temptations to conform to this world were many and pressing. A disposition to temporize was manifested in these localities, soon after their principles had been judicially exhibited. The last war between the United States and England, subjected Covenanters to new trials in America. As aliens, they were deemed unsafe residents at the seaboard, and were ordered, by the government, to retire a certain distance to the interior (much like the course pursued by Claudius Caesar toward the Jews, Acts xviii, 2). To meet the exigency, a deputation of the church was appointed to repair to Washington, in 1812, and offer a pledge that they would defend the integrity of the country against all enemies. This measure was, however, never carried out.

The church increased in numbers and influence, and began to be noticed with respect and professions of esteem among surrounding denominations. Some of her members had ventured to act in the capacity of citizens of the United States, by serving on juries. This was of course managed for a time clandestinely. At length, waxing confident by success, they began to act more openly. This gave rise to a petition addressed to the supreme judicatory of the church. The petitioners were answered by instructing them to apply for direction to the inferior judicatories–thus shunning the duty of applying their own acknowledged principles. This was in the year 1823. This course did not satisfy the petitioners, and application was again made to Synod in 1825, to explain the import of their former Act. The reply was–“This Synod never understood any act of theirs, relative to their members sitting on juries, or contravening the old common law of the church on that subject;” a response obviously as equivocal as the preceding. As early as 1823, a motion was made in the Synod to open a correspondence with the judicatories of other denominations. This motion was resisted, and for the time proved abortive. At next meeting of Synod, however, the measure was brought before that body, by a proposal from the General Assembly to correspond by delegation. This proposal found many, and some of them able, advocates in the Reformed. P. Synod. The measure was, however, again defeated; but immediately after the failure, a number of ministers forsook the Reformation ranks and consorted with the General Assembly. In the year 1828, the Synod gave its sanction and lent its patronage to the Colonization Society, which was continued till the year 1836, when its patronage was transferred to the cause of Abolition. The spirit of declension became manifest at the session of Synod in 1831, when some of the most prominent and practical principles of the Reformed Church were openly thrown into debate, in the pages of a monthly periodical, under the head of “Free Discussion.” Through the pernicious influence of that perfidious journal, sustained by the patronage of ministers of eminent standing in the church, a large proportion–neatly one-half–of the ministry were prepared, by the next meeting of Synod in 1833, to renounce the peculiar principles and long known usages of the Reformed Covenanted Church. Organizing themselves as a separate body, yet claiming their former ecclesiastical name, they deliberately incorporated with the government of the United States, and some of the senior ministers, more fully to testify their loyalty, in their old age, took the oath of naturalization!–thus breaking down the carved work which they had for many years assiduously labored to erect.

It was hoped that the severe trial to which the professing witnesses of Christ were subjected at that time, would have taught them a lesson not soon to be forgotten. It was thought by many that the church was now purged from the leaven which had almost leavened the whole lump. The Synod met in 1834, when a perverse spirit was evident in the midst of its members. The Colonization and Abolition Societies, with other associations–the exfoliations of Antichrist–had evidently gained an ascendency in the affections of many of the members. The altercation and bitterness with which the claims of these societies were discussed, evidenced to such as were free from their infection, that some of those present viewed these popular movements as transcending in importance, the covenanted testimony of the church. As the practice of occasional hearing was on the increase in some sections of the church, Synod was memorialized on that subject, but refused to declare the law of the church. The old spirit of conformity to the world was still more manifest in 1836, when Synod was importuned by her children, from the eastern and western extremes of the church, by petition, memorial, protest and appeal–growing out of the practice then generally prevalent of incorporating with the voluntary associations of the age. The response of the supreme judicatory was in this case as ambiguous as on any former occasion. The backsliding course of the factious majority was but feebly counteracted by dissent from only two members of Synod; a respectable minority having been outwitted by the carnal wisdom of those who were prompt in applying the technicalities of law. Hope was, however, cherished, that this check so publicly given, together with the practical workings of the system of moral amalgamation, would induce even reckless innovators to pause–to consider their ways and their doings. This hope, however rational and sanguine, was totally disappointed in 1838, when the table of the supreme judicatory might be said to be crowded with petitions, letters, remonstrances, memorials, protests and appeals. The just grievances of the children of witnessing and martyred fathers, were treated with contempt–“laid on the table,” “returned,” with the cry “let them be kicked under the table,” &c. And when some attempted to urge their right to be heard, they were called to order, treated with personal insult, or subjected to open violence. A few of these, having thus experienced the tyranny and abuse of the ruling faction, declined the authority and communion of Synod, and established a separate fellowship.

When the Synod again met in 1840, the same measures which had been carried by mob violence at the preceding meeting, were pressed as before; but with less tumult–leaders having learned caution from the consequences following their former outrageous conduct. Matters had now come to a crisis, when a reclaiming minority were reduced to this dilemma–either to acquiesce in the almost total subversion of the covenanted constitution of the church; or, by separating from an irreclaimable majority, attempt, by an independent organization, to make up the breach. It is easy to see which alternative was duty, not only from the nature of the case, but from the well defined footsteps of the flock. Reformation has been effected in the church of God in all ages, by the protestation and separation of a virtuous Minority. At this juncture a paper was laid upon the table of Synod, of which the following is a true copy:


“Whereas, It is the province and indispensable duty of this Synod, when society is in a state of agitation as at present, to know the signs of the times and what Israel ought to do: and whereas it is also the duty of this Synod, to testify in behalf of truth, to condemn sin and testify against those who commit it; to acquaint our people with their danger, and search into the causes of God’s controversy with them and with us: and whereas it is the duty of Synod further, to point out to the people of God the course to be pursued, that divine judgments may be averted or removed–therefore,

“1. _Resolved_, That uniting with, or inducing to fellowship, by the members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, in the voluntary and irresponsible associations of the day–composed of persons of all religious professions and of no profession–be condemned, as unwarranted by the word of God, the subordinate Standards of the church, and the practice of our covenant fathers.

“2. That an inquiry be instituted, in order to ascertain the grounds of God’s controversy with us, in the sins of omission and commission, wherewith we are chargeable in our ecclesiastical relations.

“3. That the sins thus ascertained, be confessed, mourned over and forsaken, and our engagement to the contrary duties renewed; that the Lord may return, be entreated of his people and leave a blessing behind him.”

This paper was instantly “laid on the table;” and when, at a subsequent session of the court, it was regularly called up for action, it was again and finally “laid on the table!” Ever since that transaction, this paper has been diligently misrepresented, as consisting only of _one_ resolution, and that the _first_, contrary to its own evidence.

After the final adjournment of Synod, those individuals who, as a minority, had opposed the innovations and backslidings of their brethren, embraced an opportunity for consultation. It appeared that without preconcert, they were unanimous that all legal means having failed to reclaim their backsliding brethren, who constituted a large majority of Synod; both duty and necessity required them to assume a position independent _of_ former organizations, that they might, untrammeled, carry out practically their testimony. Accordingly two ministers and three ruling elders proceeded to constitute a Presbytery on constitutional ground, declaring in the deed of constitution, adherence to all reformation attainments. This transaction took place in the city of Alleghany, June 24th, 1840. The declining majority continued their course of backsliding, following those who had relinquished their fellowship with slanderous imputations and pretended censure, as is usual in such cases. Since that time, there are no evidences given by them either of repentance or reformation.

The Synod of Scotland has for many years been in a; course of declension, in many respects very similar to that of America. As early as the year 1815, some ministers of that body began to betray a disposition to accommodate their profession to the taste of the world. The judicial testimony emitted by their fathers was represented as too elaborate and learned to be read and understood by the common reader, and too severe in its strictures upon the principles and practice of other Christian denominations. The abstract of terms of communion was viewed as too strict and uncharitable, especially the Auchensaugh Covenant became particularly obnoxious. By a persevering importunity for a series of years this degenerating party prevailed so far in the Synod as to have the Auchensaugh Deed expunged from the symbols of their profession. This was accomplished in 1822; and, taken in connection with other movements indicating a prevailing spirit of worldly conformity, this outrage upon the constitution of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, gave rise to a secession from the body, by the oldest minister in the connection, and a considerable number of others, elders and members. At the above date, the Rev. James Reed declined the fellowship of the Scottish Synod; and he maintained the integrity of the covenanted standards in a separate communion till his death: declaring at his latter end, that “he could not have laid his head upon a dying pillow in peace, if he had not acted as he did in that matter.”

Deaf to the remonstrances of this aged and faithful minister, his former brethren pursued their perverse and downward course, until their new position became apparent by the adoption of a Testimony and Terms of Communion adapted to their taste. Their Testimony was adopted in 1837. This document ostensibly consists of two parts, historical and doctrinal; but really only of the latter as _authoritative_. This will appear from the preface to the history, as also that it is without the _formal_ sanction of the Synod, which appears prefixed to the doctrinal part of the book. A considerable time before they ventured to obtrude this new Testimony on the church; they had prepared the way for its introduction, by supplanting the authoritative “Rules of Society,” framed and adopted by their fathers. This was done by issuing what they called a “Guide to Social Worship,” which the Scottish Synod sent forth under an ambiguous _recommendation_, and the spurious production was republished by order of Synod, in America, 1836, with the like equivocal expression of approbation.

What has been just related of the Ref. Pres. Church in Scotland, will apply substantially to that section of the same body in Ireland. On the doctrine of the magistrate’s power _circa sacra_, however, there was a controversy of several years’ continuance and managed with much asperity, in which Rev. Messrs. John Paul, D.D., and Thomas Houston were the most distinguished disputants. Their contendings issued in breach of organic fellowship in 1840. Indeed the sister-hood which had subsisted for many years among the Synods east and west of the Atlantic ocean, was violated in 1833; when the rupture took place in the Synod of America, by the elopement of the declining party, who are since known by alliance with the civil institutions of the United States. Among these five Synods, the principle called _elective affinity_ has been strikingly exemplified; while what the Scripture denominates _schism_, has been as visibly rampant as perhaps at any period under the Christian dispensation.

This brief historical sketch may serve to show the outlines of the courses respectively pursued by the several parties in the British Isles and America, who have made professions of attachment to that work in the kingdom of Scotland especially, which has been called the Second Reformation. But the duty of fidelity to Zion’s King, and even the duty of charity to these backsliding brethren; together with the informing of the present and succeeding generations, require, that we notice more formally some of the more prominent measures of these ecclesiastical bodies and so manifest more fully our relation to them. It is not to be expected however, that we are about to condescend upon _all_ the erroneous sentiments or steps of defection, supplied by the history of these communities. To direct the honest inquiries of the Lord’s people, and assist them in that process of reasoning by which facts are compared with acknowledged Standards, supreme and subordinate, that their moral character may be tested, is all that is proposed in the following sections.

SECTION I. The Secession from the Revolution Church of Scotland in that country assumed a position in relation to the civil institutions of Great Britain, which their posterity continue too occupy until the present time in the United States without material alteration.

1. They cooperate practically with all classes in the civil community, in maintaining national rebellion against the Lord and his Anointed. They give their suffrages toward the elevation of vile persons to the highest places of civil dignity in the American confederacy–knowing the candidates to be strangers or enemies to Immanuel. And although they have recently lifted a testimony against that system of robbery called slavery, which is so far right; yet this fact only goes to render their professed loyalty to an unscriptural frame of civil government, as manifestly inconsistent as it is impious.

2. The have all along in the United States renounced the civil part of the British Covenants, declaring that they “neither have nor ever had anything to do with them.” Truth is not local, nor does the obligation of the second table of the moral law, on which that part of our covenants is plainly founded, depend on the permanency of our residence in a particular portion of the world. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” It follows, that however solemnly or frequently they profess to renew their fathers’ covenants; the whole transaction displays their unfaithfulness to the Lord, who is a party in the covenants; and is calculated to mislead the unwary.

3. Their unsteadfastness is further evidenced, by conforming to other ecclesiastical communities in the loose practice of occasional or indiscriminate hearing; and even in some instances of ministerial intercommunion–the law of their church on that matter having become obsolete. Against these courses, in some of which that body has obstinately persevered for more than a hundred years, we deem it incumbent on us to continue an uncompromising testimony. Many comments the Moral Governor of the nations has furnished in his providence within the last century, making still more intelligible the righteous claims of his word: but Seceders seem to have their moral vision obscured by a vail of hereditary prejudice. We trust the Lord is on his way to destroy the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations; Is. xxv, 7.

SEC. II. Our testimony against the unfaithfulness of the Associate Reformed Church, continues also without material change since the rise of that body. The following among others may here be noticed, as constituting just grounds of opposition in a way of testimony-bearing, by all who would be found faithful to the Lord, and their covenant engagements.

1. Their very origin was unwarranted by scripture. All the scriptural attainments to which they profess to adhere, were already incorporated in the standards of the organic bodies, from whose fellowship they seceded. They did therefore make a breach without a definite object, and multiply divisions in the visible body of Christ without necessity. Thus they did violence to the royal law of love; for while under a profession of charity they invited to their new fellowship their former brethren; the nature of the case evinces a disposition to unmitigated tyranny. This state of things we think has not been generally understood. We shall here endeavor to render it intelligible. The fact of organizing that church (the Associate Reformed) said to both Covenanters and Seceders “It is your duty to dissolve your respective organizations, and join us.” This is undeniable. The Covenanter or Seceder replies by asking–“What iniquity have you or your fathers found in us, that you forsook our communion?” &c. “Not any,” replies the Associate Reformed Church; “only some trifling opinions peculiar to you severally which we deem unworthy of contending about. Only join our church, and we will never quarrel with you, relative to your singularities.” “Ah,” replies the other party, “the matters about which we differ, are trifling in your account; how then could they be of such magnitude as to warrant your breaking fellowship with us? What you call _trifles, peculiarities_, &c, we cannot but still judge important principles, sealed by the precious blood of martyrs: must we deny these or bury them in silence, to gain membership in your new church? Is this the nature and amount of your professed charity? This is not that heaven-born principle ‘that rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.’ You break fellowship for what you esteem mere trifles–you propose to us a new term of communion, with which it is morally impossible that we should comply, without doing violence to our consciences. Is this charity or tyranny?”

2. Although covenanting was declared by this body at their origin, to be an “important duty,” they never recognized the solemn deeds of their fathers as binding on them; nor have they ever attempted the acknowledged duty in a way supposed to be competent to themselves. Nay, the obligation of the British covenants has been denied both openly and frequently from the pulpit and the press; and even attempts have been made, not seldom, by profane ridicule, to bring them into contempt. The very duty of public, social covenanting, either in a National or ecclesiastical capacity, has been often opposed in the polemic writings of the ministers of this body, however often inculcated and exemplified in the word of God. The moral nature of the duty taken in connection with prophetic declarations, to be fulfilled only under the Christian dispensation, demonstrates the permanency of this divine ordinance until the end of the world.

3. This church set out with unsound views of church fellowship, as has been already in part made appear. But when their position came to be more pointedly defined, they made the novel distinction between _fixed_ and _occasional_ communion. The practical tendency of this unscriptural experiment was necessarily to _catholic_ communion, which theory was soon advocated by some of the most prominent of the ministry; and accordingly eventuated in the merging of a large number of her ministry and membership, in the communion of the General Assembly.

4. On the doctrine of the divine ordinance of civil government, this church has all along been unsound; as is fully evidenced in the practice of her members, which has been similar to that of Seceders. Our testimony against the latter is, in this particular, equally directed against the former.

5. This church has appeared as the advocate of a boundless toleration, conforming her views and policy in a most servile manner to the infidel model presented in the civil constitutions of republican America. It would seem, indeed, that this body aimed at conforming their ecclesiastical polity to that standard, from the fact that the very symbol of their profession as a corporate body, is designated the “Constitution of the Associate Reformed Church”–a designation which might be considered as militating against the supremacy of the Holy Scriptures. In this Constitution a sphere is assigned to conscience, which is incompatible with due subjection to the Supreme Lawgiver. As well might the _will_, or any other faculty of the soul of man, be invested with this impious supremacy, and immunity from control, by any authority instituted on earth by the only Lord of conscience. Jehovah will rule the _consciences_ of his creatures, as well as their _judgments_ and _wills_, by his holy law, in the civil commonwealth, in the church and in the family.

6. The unfaithfulness of this body appears further, in shunning to declare the _divine right_ and unalterableness of Presbyterial Church Government, she testifies not against Prelacy or Independency. If this church is Presbyterial in practice, it is on no better footing than that of the Revolution Church of Scotland.

7. The purity of divine worship is not guarded by the terms of fellowship in this church. It is true, “No Hymns merely of human composure, are allowed in her churches.” But what mean these guarded terms and phrases, “merely;” “churches?” The best interpretation of these cunningly contrived expressions is supplied by the practice of those ministers of the body, who scruple not to offer unto God “hymns merely of human composure” when occupying pulpits of other denominations, or sojourning for a night in families where these hymns are statedly used. It is known that this part of the order of public worship has been submitted in some instances, to the voice of the congregation by their pastor; thus manifesting in the same act, latitudinarianism in regard both to the government and worship of the house of God.

Lastly, to specify no further–Laxity of discipline is observable in this church. She has always admitted to her fellowship, and to a participation in her special privileges (the seals of the covenants), persons who openly deny the divine warrant for a fast in connection with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper; yea, who ridicule that part of the solemnity as _superstitious_! The same privileges are granted in this church to such as habitually neglect the worship of God in the family. Nor does this church inculcate or enjoin, as a part of Christian practice, fellowship meetings for prayer and conference. We must, as witnesses for the cause of Christ, solemnly protest against these sentiments and correspondent practices, as inconsistent with the scripture and the reformation attainments of our covenant fathers.

SEC. III. The Reformed Dissenting Church embraced more of the peculiar principles of the covenanted reformation than either of the two preceding. On the doctrines of magistracy and toleration, abstractly considered, they have manifested commendable fidelity. Nevertheless, in the practical application of these doctrines and in other respects, we are constrained to continue a testimony against them.

1. What has been remarked of the origin of the Associate Reformed body, is partly true also of the party which dissented from them: their organization was uncalled for, there being no scriptural attainment embraced by them, which was not already exhibited under a judicial banner. Those who erected the Reformed Dissenting Presbytery may have been harshly treated by ministers of the Reformed Presbytery, when attempting negotiations for union, as public fame has often rumored: yet supposing this to have been the case, multiplying separate fellowships was not a happy expedient for effecting union in the truth.

2. This body of Christians have been all along unfaithful in applying their own avowed principles relative to magistracy. Their innovation in this respect would seem to have been a carnal expedient to reach a two-fold object: the one, to retaliate on the Reformed Church for supposed indignities offered; the other, to render themselves more popular in the eyes of other communities. They admit that a constitution of civil government may be so immoral, that it cannot be considered as God’s ordinance; that in such a case “no Christian can, without sinning against God, accept any office supreme or subordinate, where an oath to support such a constitution is made essential to his office.” These admissions are equally just and important; yet these concessions are wholly neutralized in practice by these people, for they claim it as their privilege to choose others to fill those offices, which they say, they themselves cannot fill “without sinning against God.” We must continue our earnest testimony against this attempt to separate in law, between the representative and his constituents, involving as it does, if consistently carried out, the total overthrow of the covenants of works and grace, and ultimately of God’s moral government by his annotated Son! The effort made to sustain their practice in this matter, from the examples of the Marquis of Argyle and Lord Warriston, is very disingenuous; simply because the church of Scotland had not at the date referred to, reached the measure of her attainments on that head. Indeed, the whole drift of their argument goes to justify the position, that in some cases, it is expedient to do evil that good may come.

3. On the doctrine of faith this church has, we think, darkened counsel, by words without knowledge. Their distinctions and caveats relative to _assurance_, are calculated rather to bewilder than enlighten the mind of the general reader. “Receiving and resting on Christ as offered in the gospel,” amounts to “appropriation, certainty, assurance,” &c. There is evidence of a tendency to “vain jangling” here, against which, even suppose there be no error couched in the terms, we ought to testify.

4. This church evinces a disposition to intercommunion, in the practice both of ministers and members, wholly inconsistent with steadfastness, and at war with her own declared views of toleration. Occupying pulpits in common with more corrupt communities, doing this in connection with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and attendance and co-operation with others in conventional proceedings among those who style themselves “Reformed Churches,” are practices among these people, on which we feel constrained to animadvert with decided disapprobation. As also their violation of the form of Presbyterian church government by one minister with ruling elders presuming to set apart candidates to the office of the holy ministry.

SEC. IV. To speak thus publicly against those who may be the precious sons of Zion, is a painful duty. That charity, however, which rejoiceth in the truth, requires of Christ’s witnesses that they censure and rebuke, in a way competent to them, those of the household of faith whom they see and know to be in a course of error or of sin; _Isa._ lviii, 1; _Tit._ i, 13.

Many of those with whom we were wont to take pleasure in displaying a banner jointly, and in a judicial capacity, are now, alas! arrayed against us. To the real friend of Jesus, and the truth as it is in Jesus, there cannot be a more lamentable spectacle than the _professed witnesses_ of the Lamb disposed in rank under hostile colors as the company–not of two, but of many armies, ready to engage in mutual destruction! And indeed those who bite and devour one another, are in danger of being consumed one of another. The Lord is righteous in all that is come upon us; for we have sinned against him–both we and our fathers. We know not how to avert more wrath from the Lord, reclaim backsliders, confirm the wavering, direct sincere inquirers, apprise the unsuspecting of their danger, and exonerate our own consciences, otherwise than by giving open, candid and honest testimony for Christ and truth, against those, even once brethren by covenant bonds, who have dishonored him, and caused the way of truth to be evil spoken of.

Against those who separated from us in Philadelphia, 1833, erecting a rival judicatory, and dishonestly claiming the name Reformed Presbyterian Church, we bear our feeble testimony for the following among other reasons:

1. They did then openly enter on a course subversive of our whole covenanted system of doctrine and order, by withdrawing their dissent from the civil institutions of the United States, and incorporating with the National Society–knowing the same to be, by the terms of the national compact, opposed in many respects, both to godliness and honesty.

2. This party had, in a clandestine way, exerted their influence to seduce and draw away disciples after them for a series of years. This is evident from the petitions addressed to Synod on the jury law, issuing from those who are known to have been in correspondence with some of the leaders in that defection.

3. This party are chargeable with mutilating the Judicial Testimony emitted in Scotland, 1761; and also with changing the terms of communion, and obtruding a mutilated formula upon an unsuspecting people, contrary to due order.

_History_ and _argument_ are excluded from the terms of Church Fellowship, on the very face of “Reformation Principles Exhibited;” and the Auchensaugh Covenant expunged from the formula of terms of communion, without submitting them in overture to the people for inspection. We say these steps of defection and apostasy are chargeable to the account of those who made the breach in 1833: _First_, Because the senior and leading ministers in that separation were the men who framed the American Testimony and Terms of Communion; and so had many years before laid the platform and projected the course on which they violently entered at that date. _Second_, These separatists, in the edition of these symbols of their profession lately published, have consistently left out of the volume, the Historical Part, and also remodeled the formula of Terms of Communion.

4. This body continues to wax worse and worse, against all remonstrance from their former connections and others, as also in the face of providential rebukes;–losing, because forfeiting, the confidence of conscientious and honorable men, exemplified in the frequent meetings, and to them, disastrous results, of the Convention of, so called, Reformed Churches.

SEC. V. With the foregoing party may be classed those different and conflicting fellowships in Scotland and Ireland, whose recent Terms of Communion and Judicial Testimony, substantially identify with those mentioned in the preceding section.

1. Public fame charges the Eastern Synod of Ireland, and the Synod of Scotland, with connivance at the members and officers under their inspection, in co-operating with the immoral and anti-christian government of Great Britain. They are therefore guilty of giving their power and strength to that powerful and blood-thirsty horn of the beast. We are inclined to give more credit to public fame in this than we would in many other cases, because:

2. These Synods have opened a door in their new Testimony for such sinful confederacies. “What!” will the simple and uninitiated reader of the Testimony ask, “does not that Testimony declare, often and often, that the British constitution is anti-christian?” We answer, the _book_ declares so; but we caution the reader to be on his guard, lest he judge and take for granted, without a careful examination, that the book and the Testimony are the same thing. Let the honest inquirer consult the _preface_ to the _Historical_ part of the book, and then the preface to the Doctrinal part: the latter, he will find, on due examination, to constitute the Testimony. True, in page 8 of the preface to the volume, it is said, “the Testimony, as now published, consists of two parts, the one _Historical_ and the other _Doctrinal_.” This sounds orthodox; but, in the same page, when these two parts come to be defined, it is said, “when the church requires of those admitted into her fellowship, an acknowledgement of a work like the present, the approbation expressed has a reference to the _principles_ embodied in it, and _the proper application_ of them,” &c. “So they wrap it up”–better than our fathers succeeded in a similar enterprise in America. The truth is what they call the _historical_ part is largely _argumentative_; and both these parts are carefully and covertly excluded from the _terms of fellowship_! We shall have occasion to recur to this subject, as there are many others likeminded with these innovators.

3. These people are also deeply involved in the popular, so called, benevolent associations of the world, Sunday Schools, Bible Societies, Temperance Reforms, Missionary Enterprise, &c, evidencing a wide departure from our covenanted uniformity, based upon our covenanted Testimony.

SEC. VI. Those who in 1838, on account of sensible tyranny, growing out of defection on the part of the majority, declined the authority of Synod, have shared all along in our sympathies; and it has been our desire that they and we could see eye to eye in the doctrines and order of the house of God.

Although this party promised fair for a time, and apparently contended for “all the attainments of a covenanted reformation,” in process of time it became apparent that they possessed not intelligence sufficient to manage a consistent testimony for that cause. They seem to have been under the influence of temporary impulse, arising from the experience of _mal-administration_; rather than to have discovered any _constitutional_ defection in the body from which they separated. This is apparent indeed if we have access to any credible source of information relative to the principles they profess, and their Christian practice. More particularly,

1. Although that paper which they designate “Safety League,” has the sound of orthodoxy; yet, as originated, and since interpreted by them, there is a lamentable falling off from the attainments and footsteps of the flock. _First_, so far as we can ascertain, that instrument had clandestine origin being framed and subscribed by those _who were yet in fellowship with the Synod_! This might be earnest, but, we think, not honorable contending for the truth. _Second_, when this paper comes to be interpreted by its framers and signers, it seems to cover only the American Testimony and Terms, as remodeled by breach of presbyterial order. At other times, it will conveniently extend to the Scottish Testimony, 1761, and the Auchensaugh Deed, 1712! From which we infer that these people have no settled standards.

2. We testify against these people for unwarrantable separation from us. One of their elders co-operated in organizing the Reformed Presbytery in 1840; this in official, and, as then distinctly understood, representative capacity. Yet, some time afterward, he and his brethren withdrew from said Presbytery, without assigning justifiable reasons.

3. Efforts are known to have been made, by some then in their fellowship, to have social corresponding meetings established among them, but without success; in opposition to the well-defined example of our witnessing fathers, whose example they affect to imitate.

Lastly, these quondam brethren are not, to this day, distinguishable, in the symbols of their profession, from any party who have more evidently and practically abandoned the distinctive principles and order of a covenanted ancestry. There is no constitutional barrier in the way of their coalescence with any party, whom interest or caprice may select.

SEC. VII. Against that party usually, but improperly, styled the Old Lights, are we obliged to testify more pointedly than against any other party now claiming to be Reformed Presbyterians. _First_, because we believe there are among them still, real Covenanters; and, in proportion to the whole body, a greater number of such than in any other fellowship. These we would undeceive, if the Lord will; for we earnestly desire renewed fellowship with all such on original ground. _Second_, because the leaders among these make the fairest show in the flesh, and, calculating on spiritual sloth and the force of confirmed habit, hope to lead honest people insensibly after them back into Egypt. _Third_, because they are more numerous, and, from habit, more exemplary than other parties; and therefore more likely to influence honest Christians unwittingly to dishonor Christ, and gainsay his precious truth.

1. These former brethren acted, in 1833, very similar to the policy of the Revolution Church of Scotland in 1689. Instead of repairing the breaches made, and going on to fortify our New Testament Jerusalem, against the assaults of enemies in future, they rested in their present position, providing only for a new edition of Reformation Principles Exhibited, with a continuance of the history to that date. It was urged, at the time, that the argumentative part of our Testimony should be hastened to completion, but without effect. As the apostate Assembly of Scotland, 1689, admitted unsound ministers, curates, &c., to seats in court; so, with the like politic design, members were admitted to seats in Synod, 1833, who claimed “a right to withdraw to another party, if they should see cause”–yea, one of these was called to the moderator’s chair!

2. At next meeting, 1834, when the continuation of the historical part of the Testimony was read, and referred to a committee for publication in the forthcoming edition of Reformation Principles Exhibited, it was directed that the terms of communion should be inserted, supplying the deficiency in the first term, in these words: “and the alone infallible rule of faith and manners.” In the new edition these important words were omitted, as before! Several ministers seemed to be influenced in social relations, at that time, more by public opinion, than by the infallible rule. No further progress was made with the argumentative part of the Testimony, and a petition from Greenfield, to have Synod’s mind relative to occasional hearing, was returned. Against these steps of unfaithfulness we lift our protest.

3. Against the tyranny manifested at the next meeting, there were some to stand up at the time; but the spirit of the world prevailed in all the important transactions. We testify against those who refused to permit petitions, memorials, and other papers addressed to that court, to be read. Especially do we protest against that satanical spirit evidenced in misrepresenting certain respectful and argumentative papers, as being “abusive,” “insulting,” &c.: also the unrighteous attempt, by some guilty members of that court, to stop the mouth of petitioners; and we condemn the reason assigned for so doing, viz., “They had no right to petition, because they were under suspension”! This reason is worthy of double condemnation, as coming from the mouth of him who, in this instance, acted the ecclesiastical tyrant, and who would come down from Zion’s walls to the plains of Ono, mingle in political strife, that he might open his mouth for the dumb; and because a brother in covenant bonds would demur, censure him, and then make the fact of censure a reason why he should not be heard when petitioning for relief from such tyranny! “Revolters are profound to make slaughter.”

4. As papers were numerous on the table of Synod in 1838, so they furnished occasion for displays of character and conduct, humiliating to all lovers of Zion, who witnessed the transactions of that meeting of the supreme judicatory.

This was the first time, so far as we know, when that body was called upon formally to review and rectify, in a way competent to them, some parts, both of the constitutional law and administration of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod and Church in America. For a series of years, and chiefly through the influence of leaders in that faction which separated from the body in 1833, high-handed measures of tyranny had transpired: and some of the subjects of that tyranny were yet writhing under a sense of accumulated wrongs; others had, by death, been released from this species of persecution. Some thought it dutiful to call Synod’s attention to these matters, and a _petition_ was laid before them, from Rev. Robert Lusk, requesting that certain cases of discipline, which the petitioner specified, be reviewed; and especially asking, that “the term _testimony_ be restored to its former ecclesiastical use.” As this was, in our deliberate opinion, the most important measure brought under the cognizance of the church representative in America, during the current of the nineteenth century, it was thought the court would take the matter under deliberate consideration. Whether through ignorance of the matter proposed, or that sectional interests engrossed the attention of parties, or that the prevailing majority desired to be untrammeled in their future course, the petition was smuggled through and shuffled by, under the cognomen of a “letter,” which a member of Synod answered on behalf of the court, as though it were a matter of the smallest importance imaginable! We solemnly testify against this manner of disposing of a weighty matter at that time, whether through inattention or design. We protest also against the violent conduct of those ministers, and others on the same occasion, who made the place of solemn worship and judicial deliberation, a scene of confusion, by vociferations, gesticulations and physical force, in violation of God’s law, ordination vows, and the first principle of Presbyterian church government.

5. Here we can advert only to a tithe of the fruits of darkness, which had been increasing in quantity and bitterness, since the meeting of Synod in New York, 1838. To carry out measures of worldly policy, in 1840, diligent electioneering was carried on during the intermediate time, that the court might be what is technically called a _packed Synod_. That court was chiefly composed of such ministers and elders as were known to favor innovations; and some who were known to be disposed to resist defection, were excluded from seats in court. Against this dishonest, partial and unjust measure, we protest. And here we lift our testimony against this course, as having greatly retarded the Lord’s work for many years before, and as having facilitated the introduction of error, disorder and open tyranny, in manifold instances, during the same period.

6. We testify against the tyranny exercised upon James McKinney, of Coldenham, who was not allowed to read his vindication and justification, when he asked permission to do so, from the published sentiments of some of those who condemned him!!! Also the cruelty practiced toward Miss King, an absent member, whose representation of her case to the Synod, could not so much as be heard. We bear testimony against those who in that Synod would interrupt, call to order–in violation of order–those members who were appearing in defense of injured truth, and who were often silenced by tumult, or the call of order by an obsequious moderator. Especially do we testify against the dishonesty and unfaithfulness of that body, displayed by them in disposing of the paper inserted (see p. 132), calling Synod’s attention to what we firmly believe to be the source of all the error, guilt and distractions incident or attending to that body for many years.

On the practice of confederating with the enemies of God, we testify against this party, not only for the _fact_ of so confederating, but also, and chiefly, for resisting the evidence of God’s word, often adduced in condemnation of the practice–refusing to hear the testimonies, experience, and reasoning of Christ’s witnesses and martyr’s when cited from the Cloud of Witnesses, Informatory Vindication, Gillespie on Confederacies, &c; and for obstinately going on in this trespass, in the face of manifold convictions from living witnesses and providential rebukes.

As it respects ecclesiastical relations, we testify against these former brethren for having wittingly, perseveringly, and presumptuously fostered _schism_ in the visible church, manifestly for carnal ends, during many years. It is notorious that five Synods are in organic fellowship, while hardly two of them will hold ministerial or sacramental communion! What a picture does this state of things in the professing church of Christ present to the infidel; how hardening to the self-righteous and the openly profane! And although conventional regulations be lightly looked upon by many, not being based upon express words of scripture; yet when framed and engaged to, according to the general rules of scripture, much sin is the result of violating them, and trampling them under foot, as has often been done by this body of people. This has been the case in Presbyteries, subordinate Synods, and especially in the general Synod. Subordinate Synods have been dissolved by the action of the general Synod after they had ceased to be; and without consulting the Presbyteries, who alone were competent to decree or dissolve the delegation form of the general Synod, that court dissolved itself, after having many years trampled upon the law of Presbyteries fixing the ratio of delegation. Against such reckless, disorderly procedure we testify as being the cause or occasion of much sin against Zion’s King, and much suffering to his precious people.

Finally–We solemnly enter our protestation against this church, as having taken the lead of most others in razing the very foundation stone of the covenanted structure. All the evils that have befallen the professed friends of a work of reformation on both sides of the Atlantic are traceable to a _setting aside_ the _footsteps_ of the flock from being terms of ecclesiastical communion. It is now more than ten years since this important matter was expressly submitted to the Old Light Synod’s consideration, and during the subsequent period, in various forms, the same has been pressed, but without effect; except as manifesting more fully their obduracy. They refuse still to return, Ephraim-like, going on frowardly in the way of their own heart.

That uninspired history ought to be incorporated among the terms of communion in the Church of Christ, is a proposition which we firmly believe, on the evidence both of reason and Scripture, although denied, condemned, and rejected by all pretenders to reformation attainments. That _history_ and _argument_ are so rejected by all parties affecting to be _reformed_ churches, will appear from the following citations from their own authoritative judicial declarations: “Authentic history and sound argument are always to be highly valued; but they should not be incorporated with the confession of the Church’s faith.” “The Declaratory part is, the Church’s _standing Testimony_.”–Ref. Prin. Exhibited, preface–edition, 1835. Here history and argument are both excluded, not only from the Church’s _testimony_ but also from her confession! This is the declared sentiment of Old and New Light Covenants, together with the Safety League people–evidencing to all who are free from party influence, that however they differ in practice, on this all important point they perfectly harmonize in principle. East of the Atlantic, among the three Synods professing to follow the footsteps of the flock, the declared sentiment is the same, but then they differ from their brethren in practice–mingling with the heathen and learning their works without scruple. In this respect they are more consistent than the other parties, though more visibly corrupt.

The Reformed Dissenters “prefix a _Narrative_ to their testimony,” thus rejecting _history_ from _testimony_. Some advocates for union in conventions of reformed churches, have plead for a historical introduction to their proposed _testimony_; but they have carefully assured the public that this introduction shall constitute no _term_ of union or communion. Thus, it is evident, that all the professed followers of the British Reformers around us, have cast off this reformation attainment from the standards of their professions severally. We condemn this church-rending and soul-ruining sentiment, and testify against all who maintain it, for the following reasons:

_First_, on their part it is inconsistent and self-contradictory. They all say they are following the footsteps and holding the attainments of the Scottish Reformers. But how do they discover these footsteps, or how ascertain these attainments? Are they recorded in the Bible? No. Are they to be found elsewhere but in _uninspired history_? Certainly no where else. Yet all these parties absurdly reject uninspired history from their bonds of fellowship! and still venture to tell the world, they are holding fast these attainments!! This is solemn trifling, profane mockery. _Second_. This position is unsound and false in the light of reason. All civilized nations, as well as the Jews, have it written in their laws, “That the testimony of two men is true.” The witnesses do not need to be inspired to be credible. “We receive the witness of men,” although a “false witness will utter lies.” No society can exist without practical recognition of the credibility of human testimony; and this is especially true of the “Church of the living God, which is the pillar and ground of the truth;” for, _Third_. In the light of Scripture, her members cannot perform some of their most important duties, either to God or to one another if they irrationally and wickedly relinquish this principle. God’s people are charged “not to forget his mighty works;” Psa. lxxviii. 7. Are these works all written in the Bible? They are required to confess their fathers’ sins, as well as their own. Since the divine canon was closed, many sins have been, and now are chargeable against professing Christians. Are these recorded in the Scriptures? And thus the reader may ask himself of sin and duty to any extent, in relation to God as a party.

And the same is true of the second table of the moral law. For example: in reference to “the first commandment with promise,” should the Christian minor be asked as the Jew did his Lord, “Who is your father?” How shall he answer? Is he warranted to appeal to God to manifest his earthly sonship? No; but he is required by God’s law to “honor his father;” and his obedience to this command is grounded on human testimony as to the object to whom this honor is due. Thus consistency, reason and scripture combine, to accuse and fasten guilt–the guilt of apostasy upon all who have renounced that fundamental principle of our glorious covenanted reformation–_that history and argument belong to the bond of ecclesiastical fellowship_. With any who hold the theory here condemned, however exemplary or even conscientious in morals and religion they may appear, we can have no ecclesiastical fellowship; for, however ardent their attachment or strong their expressions of affection to Confession, Catechisms, Covenants, &c.; they give no guarantee of competent intelligence or probable stability; as alas! we see in the present declining course of many in our day.

We would earnestly and affectionably beseech all well wishers to a covenanted work of reformation: that they would take into their serious consideration whether these things are, or are not connected inseparably with the wellfare of Zion. Especially would we expostulate with such as have any regard for the Judicial Testimony adopted at Ploughlandhead, Scotland, in 1761: that they conscientiously compare it with the book called Reformation Principles Exhibited, and also with the new Scottish Testimony, where it is practicable, and all these with the supreme standard, the holy scriptures. They will find on examination, that these are wholly irreconcilable in the very form of testimony-bearing. Particularly, let the reader notice that our fathers in 1761, considered _history_ and _argument_ as constituting their testimony: and did not look upon _doctrinal declaration_ as formal testimony at all. Look at the very title page of their Testimony; where you read, “Act, Declaration and Testimony,” plainly distinguishing between _declaration_ and _Testimony_. Now, all innovators make doctrinal declaration their testimony, reversing our fathers’ order; yea, we would add God’s order, for he distinguishes between his law and testimony; Ps. lxxviii, 5-7; cv, 42-45. God’s special providences toward his covenanted people constitute his testimony by way of eminence; Exod. xx, 1, &c., and their conduct under his providences constitute their testimony, which must consist of history; and by this and the blood of the Lamb, Christ’s witnesses are destined to overcome all anti-christian combinations.

In attempting thus to follow the approved example of our covenant fathers, whose practice it was to testify not only against the corruptions of ecclesiastical, but also of civil constitutions, where their lot was cast, we deem it incumbent on us to continue our testimony first published in 1806, against the immoralities incorporated with the government of these United States.

Believing that a nation as such, is a proper subject of God’s government, and that those nations favored with his law as revealed in the holy scriptures, are peculiarly required to regard the authority of the Lord and his Anointed, therein made fully known: it is with deep regret that we feel constrained to designate and testify against evils in the Constitution of this nation. Notwithstanding numerous excellencies embodied in this instrument, there are moral evils contained in it also, of such magnitude, that no Christian can consistently give allegiance to the system. There is not contained in it any acknowledgment of the Christian religion, or professed submission to the kingdom of Messiah. It gives support to the enemies of the Redeemer, and admits to its honors and emoluments Jews, Mohammedans, Deists and Atheists–it establishes that system of robbery by which men are held in slavery, despoiled of liberty, and property, and protection. It violates the principles of representation, by bestowing upon the domestic tyrant who holds hundreds of his fellow creatures in bondage, an influence in making laws for freemen proportioned to the number of his own slaves. This constitution is, in many instances, inconsistent, oppressive and impious.

Much guilt, and of long standing, is chargeable against this nation, for its cruel treatment of the colored race, in subjecting them ever since 1789 to hopeless bondage; its unjust transactions with the Indian race, and more recently waging an unjust war with a neighboring republic, as would appear, for the wicked purpose of extending the iniquitous system of slavery.

“Arise O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.”


A brief declaration or summary of the principles maintained by the Presbytery, as to doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, in agreeableness to the word of God, our Confession of Faith and Catechisms, and whole covenanted testimony of the Church of Scotland.–The contrary doctrines condemned.

Unto what has been more generally laid down in the preceding pages, with respect to the principles and practice of this church and nation, both in former and present times; the Presbytery proceed to subjoin a positive and explicit declaration of their principles anent the truths of our holy religion, whether by the generality agreed unto, or by some controverted.

I. OF GOD.–The Presbytery did, and hereby do acknowledge and declare, that there is one infinite, eternal, self-existent, and independent Being; and that this only true and living God, absolutely all-sufficient, having all being, perfection, glory, and blessedness, in and of himself, subsists in three distinct, divine persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (in one and the same undivided essence and godhead), all equally the same in substance, power, and glory, although distinguished by their personal properties; according to Deut. vi, 4; 1 Cor. viii, 6; 1 Tim. i, 17; Acts xvii, 24, 25; 1 John v, 7; Matth. xxviii, 19; Confession of Faith, chap. 2; larger catechism, quest. 7–11; shorter catechism, quest. 4–6.

II. OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.–Again, they confess and declare, that although the light of nature discovers unto us that there is a God, yet of itself it is absolutely insufficient to teach us the saving knowledge of the invisible Being and his will; and therefore God of his infinite condescension has given us a most perfect revelation of himself and of his will in the scriptures of truth, contained in the sacred books of the Old and New Testament; which scriptures the Presbytery assert to be of divine authority, and not to be believed and received because of any other testimony, than that of God their author, who is truth itself. Which word of God is the alone perfect and complete rule, both of faith and practice, containing a full and ample revelation of the whole counsel of God, both respecting his own glory and the salvation of men; by which all spirits are to be tried, and to which all doctrines and controversies in religion are to be brought, as to the supreme judge, in whose sentence alone we are to acquiesce; according to Rom. i, 19, 20; 1 Cor. ii, 13, 14; Heb. i, 1; 2 Tim. iii, 16; 2 Pet. i, 19, 21; 2 Tim. iii, 15; Gal. i. 8, 9; Eph. ii, 20, and our standards, Confess. chap. 1; larger Cat. quest. 2-5; shorter Cat. quest. 2, 3.

III. OF THE DECREES OF GOD.–Again, they assert and maintain, that Jehovah, according to his own most wise counsel, and for his own glory, has, by one immanent act of his will from eternity, purposed and decreed all events in time; and particularly, that by his absolute sovereignty, he has unchangeably determined the final state of all intelligent beings, visible and invisible. That God of his mere good pleasure, abstracting from all other causes whatever, for the praise of his glorious grace to be manifested in time, has from all eternity predestinated a certain definite number of mankind sinners, in and through Jesus Christ, to eternal life, together with all the means leading thereunto. And also, by the same sovereign will, has passed by, and left others in their sins, foreordaining them to bear the just punishment of their own iniquities; as is evident from Rom. ix, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18; Eph. i, 4, 6, 9, 11; Jude verse 4; and according to Confess, chap. 3; larger Cat. quest. 12, 13; shorter Catechism quest. 7.

IV. OF CREATION.–In like manner they acknowledge and declare, that as God, from the infinity of his being and goodness, has communicated a finite created existence to all other beings, framing them with natures wisely suited and adapted to the different ends of their creation; so by the same all-powerful word whereby they were at first created, he preserves and upholds all his creatures in their beings, and by the incessant care and invariable conduct of his divine providence, does constantly direct and overrule them and all their actions unto his own glory; according to divine revelation, Gen. i, throughout; Col i, 16; Rom. xi, 36; Psal, cxlv, 17, and xxxiii, 9; and cxix, 91; Heb. i, 2, 3; Confess, chap. 4, 5; larger Cat. quest. 14; short. Cat. quest. 8.

Likewise they profess and declare, that God, as the last and finishing part of his workmanship in this lower world, created man an intelligent being, endued with a living, reasonable and immortal soul, whose greatest glory consisted in his having the gracious image of his God and Creator drawn upon his soul, chiefly consisting in that knowledge, righteousness and inherent holiness wherewith he was created. And further, that God, in his favor and condescension to man, was pleased to enter into a covenant with him, as the public head and representative of all his posterity, wherein God promised unto him eternal life and blessedness with himself in glory, upon condition of personal, perfect and perpetual obedience; to the performance whereof, he furnished him with full power and ability, and threatened death upon the violation of his law and covenant, as is evident from the sacred text; Gen. i, 26, 27; Eccl. vii, 29; Gen. ii, 17; Rom. x, 5, and according to our Confess, chap. 4, Sec. 2; chap, 7, Sec. 1, 2; chap. 19, Sec. 1; larger Cat. quest. 20; short. Cat. quest. 10, 12.

V. OF THE FALL OF MAN.–They again assert and maintain, that the first and common parents of mankind, being seduced by the subtilty of Satan, transgressed the covenant of innocency, in eating the forbidden fruit; whereby they lost the original rectitude of their nature, were cut off from all gracious intercourse with God, and became both legally and spiritually dead; and therefore they being the natural root of all mankind, and the covenant being made with _Adam_, not as a private, but a public person, all his descendants by ordinary generation, are born under the guilt of that first sin, destitute of original righteousness, and having their nature wholly depraved and corrupted; so that they are by nature children of wrath, subjected unto all the penal evils contained in the curse of a broken law, both in this life, and in that which is to come; Gen. iii, 6, 13; Eccl. vii. 20; Rom. v, from 12 to 20; Rom. iii, 10-19; Eph. ii, 3; Confess, chap. 6: larger Cat. quest. 21, 22, short. Cat. question 13 to 20.

In like manner they assert and declare, that all mankind, by their original apostasy from God, are not only become altogether filthy and abominable in the eyes of God’s holiness; but also, are hereby utterly indisposed, disabled, and entirely opposite to all good, the understanding become darkness, and the will enmity and rebellion itself against God; so that man, by his fall, having lost all ability of will to what is spiritually good, cannot in his natural state, and by his own strength, convert himself (being dead in trespasses and sins), nor can he in less or more contribute to his own salvation, or in the least prepare himself thereunto; neither is there any natural, necessary or moral connection between the most diligent and serious use of the means, and obtaining salvation thereby. Although the Presbytery maintain, that as a God of grace has promised the converting influences of his Spirit to be showered down upon dead souls, in the use of means of his own appointment; they are therefore to be attended to with the utmost care and diligence; as appears from Rom. v, 6; John vi, 44, 65; Tit. iii, 3-5; Job xiv, 4; Confess. chap. 9, Sec. 3; larger Cat. quest. 25.

VI. OF THE COVENANT OF GRACE.–Likewise they assert and declare, that Jehovah, in the person of the Father, having purposed to save a certain number of the ruined family of _Adam_, did from all eternity enter into a covenant transaction with Jesus Christ, his eternal and only begotten Son, who contracted as the second _Adam_, in the name of all his spiritual seed. In which covenant, the Father promising to confer eternal life upon a select number given unto Christ, upon condition of his fulfilling all righteousness for them; the Lord Jesus Christ did again stipulate and engage, as the condition of the covenant by him to be fulfilled, that in the fullness of time, assuming the human nature into a personal union with the divine, he would therein, and in the elect’s name fulfill, not only the preceptive part of the law, but also bear the whole punishment contained in the threatening thereof: which covenant, that it might be absolutely free to sinners, and that the salvation therein provided for them, might not be of debt, but of grace, was unto Jesus Christ a covenant of redemption, nothing being therein promised to him, but upon his paying a full price, adequate to the most extensive demands of law and justice; according to Psal. lxxxix, 2, 3, 28, 34, 35; Tit. i, 2; Isa. liii, 10, 11; Matth. v, 17; Confess. chap. 7, Sec. 3; Larg. Cat. quest. 30, 31; Short. Cat. quest. 20.

VII. OF THE MEDIATOR.–In like manner they profess, assert, and declare, that the Lord Jesus Christ, the second person in the glorious and adorable Trinity, being by the Father’s appointment constituted mediator and surety of the new covenant, did, in the fullness of time, assume the human nature, consisting of a true body and reasonable soul, into a personal union with his divine; which two natures, in the one person of our Immanuel, God-man, remain distinct, without conversion, composition, or confusion. And being every way completely qualified and furnished for executing his mediatory offices of prophet, priest, and king, was called to the exercise thereof, by God the Father, who put all power and judgment into his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same; Prov. viii, 23; Heb. ii, 14; 1 Tim. ii, 5; John vi, 27, and v, 27; Confess. chap. 8 throughout; Larg. Cat. quest. 21-23; short. Cat. quest, 21, 22.

Again, they acknowledge and declare, that the Lord Jesus Christ our REDEEMER, the only begotten Son of God, by eternal and ineffable generation, is most properly a divine person, true and very God, one in essence, equal and the same in power, eternity, glory, and all divine perfections with the Father and Holy Ghost: and that therefore it is most blasphemous to assert, that the terms, _necessary existence_, and _supreme deity_, and the title of _the only true God_, do not belong to the Son equally with the Father, as the same in substance, being expressly contrary to these texts of sacred writ which assert the opposite truth; John i, 1-4; Phil, ii, 6; John x, 30; 1 John v, 20, and to our standards, Confess. chap. 8, Sec. 2; Larg. Cat. quest. 36; Short. Cat. 6.

They likewise further acknowledge, assert, and declare, that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, and only Mediator between God and man, being designed from everlasting the REDEEMER of his people, and having all fullness, power, and authority lodged in him for the execution of his mediatory trust, has, ever since the fall of mankind, as the great and good shepherd of _Israel_, undertaken the care, government, protection, and instruction of the Church of God, in agreeableness to the above said trust: which he did all along under the Old Testament, and still continues faithfully to discharge in all the parts thereof; so that whatever revelation God made unto his church since the fall, was by Jesus Christ as the great prophet and preacher of righteousness. Particularly, it was he that first appeared unto lapsed man, and as the great revealer of the council of peace, called upon him in the voice of mercy, saying, “_Adam_, where art thou?” It was he that, pleasing himself in the forethoughts of his future incarnation, and as a prelude thereto, condescended at different times to appear in a human form, and speak unto the fathers. By him, as the messenger of the covenant, were the lively oracles delivered to the Israelitish church; and by his Spirit in the prophets, successively raised up to instruct his church in the knowledge of the divine will, was signified and foretold the grace that should come, until the fullness of the time appointed in the council of Heaven, when it was promised he should come, and by his personal presence fill his house with glory. Then did God in these last days speak unto men by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things; who, not only by himself, but also, after his ascension, by his evangelists and apostles filled with the Spirit, has made known all things that he heard of his Father. And now, after the canon of scripture is completed, and no new revelation to be expected to the end of time, continues by his word and spirit to instruct sinners in the knowledge of all things necessary for their sanctification and salvation; according to Acts x, 38, and iii, 22; Luke iv, 18, 21; John i, 18; 1 Pet. i, 10-12; Heb. i, 1, 2; Eph. iv, 11-13; Confess. chap. 8, Sec. 1; Larg. Cat. quest. 43; Short. Cat. quest. 24.

In like manner, they profess and declare, that the Lord Jesus Christ, being called of him that said unto him, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee,” unto the honorable office of High Priest over the house of God, and confirmed therein by all the solemnities of the oath of God, he did most willingly undertake this work, saying, _Lo, I come to do thy will, O God!_ And that he might finish and fulfill the same, in agreeableness to his eternal engagements to the Father, to the Old Testament types and sacrifices, promises and prophecies, wherein he was foresigned and revealed to be the seed of the woman, that should bruise the serpent’s head, did, in the fullness of time, humble himself to be made of a woman, made under the law, in the form of a bond servant to Jehovah. In which character, he not only fulfilled the preceptive part of the law, but also, with the most unparalleled meekness, patience and resignation, submitted to the most grievous and dreadful sufferings, both in body and soul, even all that divine wrath, indignation and punishment, wrapped up in the terrible curse of a broken covenant of works. By which obedience of his unto the death, through the eternal Spirit offering himself without spot unto God, a proper, real and expiatory sacrifice for sin, he has fully satisfied divine justice, made reconciliation for the iniquities of his people, and purchased an eternal inheritance for them in the kingdom of glory. The saving benefits of which redemption, by the Spirit’s effectual application thereof, he does, by his intercession at the Father’s right hand, as an arisen, living, and now glorified Savior, constantly and certainly communicate unto all those whom the Father has given him. Further, the Presbytery declare, that however they acknowledge the standing of the world, as a theater to display the riches of divine grace, the preaching of the gospel indefinitely to mankind sinners, and all the common favors of life indifferently enjoyed by them, do all result, as native, necessary and determined consequences, from the interposition of Christ in behalf of his spiritual seed, and have their ultimate foundation in the infinite sufficiency, fullness and perfection, of the blood and sacrifice of Christ, God-man: yet they affirm, that, as a certain elect and select number were given unto Christ, to be redeemed from among men, so, for their sakes alone, he engaged his heart to approach unto God. For their sakes, he sanctified himself; in their name, i.e., in their law-room and stead, and for their good, as the surety of the better covenant, he became obedient unto death, and endured the whole of that punishment threatened by the law, and incurred by the transgression of it. He subjected himself to that very curse, bore that wrath and died that death, which they themselves should have undergone. And hereby, by his doing and dying, he made a proper, real, full and expiatory satisfaction to the justice of God for their sins. Wherefore it is impossible but that to all those for whom Christ has purchased this complete redemption, and for whose sins he has given this full satisfaction accepted of God, he will certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same in the saving benefits thereof; seeing that it is his will who has merited it, that all those who are the Father’s choice by election, and his purchase by redemption, should be _ever with him where he is, that they may behold his glory_; and since, as he is thus willing, he is also able, to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him. So that all for whom Christ died, all that are redeemed by his blood, are, in consequence hereof; effectually called, justified, sanctified and glorified; according to Psal. xl, 7, 8; Heb. x, 5-11; Phil. ii, 8; Gal. iv, 4, 5; Heb. ix, 14, 28; Dan. ix, 24; Psal. lxxv, 3; Isa. xlix, 8; John vi, 37, 39, chap. x, 15, 16; Eph. i, 7; Rom. viii, 34, and ver. 29, 30; John xvii throughout; John xi, 52; Confess, chap. vii, Sec. 4, 5, 8; Larg. Cat. quest. 44; Sh. Cat. quest. 25.

They also acknowledge, assert and declare, that the Lord Jesus Christ is, by the appointment of God the Father, set as King upon his holy hill of Zion; over which, as his special kingdom, he is invested with an absolute power and supremacy, as the sole and only head thereof, to appoint offices, officers, laws and ordinances. And that accordingly, by virtue of this solemn investiture, the same Lord Jesus Christ has, in all ages, called out of the world, and maintained therein, a church unto himself, which he visibly governs by a complete system of laws, officers and censures, instituted in his word, and has not left the affairs of his church, in which (as a Son over his own house) he peculiarly presides, to be regulated and modeled by the carnal policy and invention of men. Also, that, as King in _Zion_, he powerfully and irresistibly, in a day of efficacious grace, subdues the perverse hearts and wills of sinners unto his obedience, persuading and enabling as many as were appointed to obtain salvation through him, to believe in his name, in order thereunto. All whom he either preserves from, or supports under, the various temptations, trials and afflictions, they are liable to in this mortal life; till at last, completing a work of grace in their souls, he advances them to a state of perfection and glory.

Further, the Presbytery declare and maintain, that, in subserviency to this his special mediatory kingdom, the Lord Jesus Christ has a supreme and sovereign power given unto him, in heaven and in earth, and over the infernal powers of darkness–angels, authorities and powers being put in subjection to him; that he has the management of all the wheels of providence put into his hand, whereby he restrains, disappoints, and at last totally destroys, all the enemies of his interest and glory; and by which he orders and overrules all the events that fall out in time, for the accomplishment of the great and glorious ends of his incarnation, and lasting good of those that love him: according to Psal. ii, 6; Isa. ix, 6, 7; Isa. xxxiii, 22; Matth. xxi, 5; Isa. lv, 4, 5; Gen. xlix, 10; Heb. iii, 6; Psal. cx, 1, 2; Matth. xxviii, 18; John vii, 2; 1 Pet. iii, 22; Phil, ii, 9-11; Confess, chap, viii Sec. 3; Larg. Cat. quest. 45; Sh. Cat. quest. 26.

They again declare and assert, that as the light of nature is absolutely insufficient to give a just discovery, either of the grievous malady of sin, or the blessed remedy provided for sinners, so none, however diligent they may be to frame their lives according to the dictates of nature’s light, can possibly attain to salvation, while they remain without any objective revelation of Jesus Christ, as the great propitiation and peace-maker, who has abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light, by the gospel. And further, that there is no other name, doctrine or religion, whereby any can be saved, but in the name, doctrine and religion of the Lord Jesus Christ, of which he is the great author and institutor; in the profession and faith whereof, he leads his people through this world into the possession of endless felicity and glory in the world to come.

VIII. OF THE GOSPEL OFFER.–They further declare, that, as God the Father, out of his unbounded love, has, on the footing of the infinite sufficiency of the death and sacrifice of Christ, made a free and unhampered gift and grant of him, as an all-sufficient Savior, unto sinners of mankind lost, as such, in the word: so the ministers and embassadors of Christ (according as they are expressly authorized and commanded by him) are to publish this gospel, these glad tidings of great joy to all the world, wherever they may be called or cast, in the providence of God, and make a full, free and unhampered offer of Christ and his whole salvation to sinners, without distinction, assuring them of God’s mercy and grace, through Christ, in whom he proclaims himself well pleased; of Christ’s omnipotent power and ability to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him; and that there are no impediments, bars or hinderances, _ab extra_, between Jesus Christ, as held forth in the offer of the gospel, and sinners lost, why they, even every one of them, may not receive and appropriate him, as the Lord their righteousness. And the above said frank and unhampered gift of Christ, and him crucified, by God the Father, as a full and all-sufficient Savior unto lost and ruined sinners, the Presbytery view as the great and prime foundation, both of the ministerial offer, and of, faith in the Lord Jesus, for life and salvation: as is clear from Rom. x, 14; 1 Cor. i, 21-25; Isa. lv, 1; Mark xvi, 15; John iii, 16; Confess, chap, vii, Sec. 3; Larg. Cat. ques. 67; Sh. Cat. ques. 31, &c.

IX. OF JUSTIFICATION.–Again, they profess and declare, that the active and passive obedience, or the complete mediatory righteousness, of the Lord Jesus Christ, is the only meritorious cause of a sinner’s justification, pardon of sin, and acceptance of his person and services with a holy God; and that true and saving faith, which is also the gift of God, is the alone instrumental cause of the sinner’s justification in his sight; or that evangelical condition, or internal mean, in and by which the soul is interested in Christ, and the whole of his righteousness and salvation. Which righteousness, received and rested on by faith, is the only foundation of a sinner’s title to eternal life and glory; as appears evident from Rom. iii, 22-29; Rom. v, 17-20; Jer. xxiii, 6; Gal. ii, 16; Acts x, 43; Col. i, 27; Acts viii, 37; Rom. x, 9; Mark v, 36; Eph. ii, 8; Confess, chap. 11, 14; Larg. Cat. ques. 70, 73; Sh. Cat. ques. 3.

They likewise profess and maintain, that believers, by the righteousness of Christ being justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses, are by Jesus Christ perfectly delivered from the law, as a covenant of works, both as commanding and condemning; so as that thereby they are neither justified nor condemned, it being dead to them, and they to it, by the body of Christ, to whom they are married. However, notwithstanding of this freedom, they are still servants unto God; still under the moral law, as a rule of life in the hand of their glorious Mediator and new covenant Head, directing them how they are to walk, so as to please God; the obligation whereof, as such, remains perpetual and indissoluble; and that this privilege is peculiar to believers only, all others being still under the old covenant obligation, both as to the debt of obedience and punishment; according to Rom. vi, 14, and vii, 4, 6; Gal. iv, 4, 5, and ii, 16; Rom. viii, 1; Gal. iii, 10; Confess, chap, xix, Sec. 5, 6; Larg. Cat. ques. 97; Sh. Cat. ques. 43, 44.

X. OF GOOD WORKS.–Again, they assert and declare, that as no works are truly and spiritually good, but those that are performed by a person united to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, and under the influence of his Holy Spirit; and consequently, that none of the actions of the unregenerate, however in themselves materially agreeable unto the letter of the law, are either pleasing or acceptable to God; nor can they dispose or prepare their souls for receiving his grace, though their omission and neglect of these is still more displeasing unto God, and destructive unto themselves. So likewise they declare, that even the best works of obedience performed by the regenerate, can neither merit the pardon of any one sin, nor procure them the smallest measure or God’s grace or favor, because of the manifold sins and imperfections they are still attended with, and because of the infinite distance between God and them, with respect to whom, when they have done all that they can, they are but unprofitable servants. Neither is their ability to do them at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit dwelling in them. And further, that the spring and principle motive of true love to God, and acceptable obedience to him, is not self-interest or love to our own felicity, nor yet a slavish fear of punishment; but the glorious perfections and transcendent excellencies of the Deity, manifested in the face of Jesus Christ, who is the brightness of the Father’s glory, and express image of his person, are the prime and chief motives both of love, fear and obedience unto God; all who really love God loving him principally for himself. As also, that all acceptable service to God, performed by believers, is principally influenced by the authority of a God of grace, stamped upon his word, springs from faith in Jesus Christ, as an animating and active principle in their souls, and is ultimately directed to the glory of God in Christ, as the great end thereof. Hence, therefore, although God has graciously connected his own glory and his people’s felicity inseparably together, that yet no actions, however good in themselves or beneficial to others, which arise only from a principle of self-interest, love to one’s own bliss, or fear of hell, are evidential of saving grace in the soul, or any more than what one in a state of nature may perform; according to Gen. iv, 5; Heb. xi, 4, 6; Matth. vi, 2, 5, 16; Hag. ii, 14; Amos, v, 21, 22; Tit. i, 15, and iii, 5; Rom. iii, 20, and iv, 2, 4, 6; Job xxii, 2, 3; Eph. i, 6; 1 Pet. ii, 5; Exod. xxviii, 38; Confess, chap. 16 throughout; Larg. Cat. ques. 73, 101; Sh. Cat. ques. 44.

XI. OF ASSURANCE OF GRACE.–In like manner they declare and assert, that although there may be much darkness, and manifold doubts and fears, seated in the same soul where true and saving faith is: and although true believers may wait long before they know themselves to be believers, and be assured that they are really in a state of grace; and even, after they have arrived at a subjective assurance of their salvation, may have it much shaken, clouded and intermitted; that yet there is no doubting, no darkness, in the saving acts of a true and lively faith: but in all the appropriating acts of saving faith, there is an objective assurance, an assured confidence and trust in Jesus Christ, and the promise of life in which he is revealed to the soul; according to Isa. 1, 10; Mark ix, 24; 1 John v, 13; Psal. lxxvii, 1 to 11; Psal. lxxxviii, throughout; Gal. ii, 20; Mark xi, 24; Confess, chap. 18 throughout; Larg. Cat. ques. 72, 80, 81; Short. Cat. question 86.

XII. OF THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS.–They further assert and declare, that whosoever, of any of the children of men, in all ages, have attained salvation, did believe in, and receive the Lord Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, and only Savior from sin, to whom all the prophets bear witness, in whom all the promises and lines of salvation do center; and particularly, that however much the faith of the disciples and apostles of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in him, as their only Redeemer, might be at any time overclouded, yet it was never totally subverted; and that the noble grace of faith in the souls of believers cannot be totally lost; but that such is the immutability of God’s decrees, and his unchangeable love; such the efficacy of their Redeemer’s merit, and constant abiding of the spirit of holiness in them; and such the nature of the new covenant, that, notwithstanding of various temptations and afflictions, the prevailing of remaining corruption in them, they must all and every one of them, certainly and infallibly persevere in a state of grace unto the end, and be at last saved with an everlasting salvation; as appears from Heb. xi, 13; John iv, 42; Phil. i, 6; John x, 28, 29; 1 Pet. ii, 9; Jer. xxxiv, 4; Confess, chap. 8, Sec. 1, chap. 14, Sec. 2, and chap. 17 throughout.

XIII. OF LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE.–They further assert and declare, that the noble faculty of conscience, God’s deputy in the soul of man, over which he alone is absolute Lord and Sovereign, is not subjected unto the authority of man; neither are any human commands further binding upon the consciences of men, than they are agreeable unto, and founded upon the revealed will of God, whether in matters of faith or practice. And although the Lord Jesus Christ has purchased a glorious liberty unto believers from sin, and all the bitter fruits thereof, and of access to a throne of grace with boldness; and has procured unto his church freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law, with a more abundant communication of gospel influences: yet, inasmuch as conscience is the rule ruled, not the rule, ruling, none can, without manifest sin, upon pretense of conscience or Christian liberty, cherish any forbidden lust in their souls, nor are left at freedom to reject any of the divine ordinances instituted in the word, to change or corrupt their scriptural institution, by immixing human inventions therewith, or in the least deviating from the punity thereof. And that therefore, all who vent or maintain tenets or opinions, contrary to the established principles of Christianity, whether in the matter of doctrine, divine worship, or practice in life, which are contrary to, and inconsistent with the analogy of faith, and power of true godliness, or destructive to that pure peace and good order established by Christ in his church, are accountable unto the church; and upon conviction, ought to be proceeded against, by inflicting ecclesiastical censures or civil pains, in a way agreeable unto the divine determination in the word concerning such offenses.

And further, they declare, that it is most wicked, and what manifestly strikes against the sovereign authority of God, for any power on earth to pretend to tolerate, and, by sanction of civil law, to give license to men to publish and propagate with impunity, whatever errors, heresies, and damnable doctrines, Satan, and their own corrupt and blinded understandings, may prompt them to believe and embrace; toleration being destructive of all true religion, and of that liberty wherewith Christ has made his people free; and the great end thereof, which is, “That being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, we may serve the Lord–in holiness and righteousness, all the days of our lives.” Agreeable to James iv, 12; Rom. xiv, 4; Acts iv, 19, and v, 29; 1 Cor. vii, 23; Matth. xxiii, 9; 2 John 10, 11; 2 Cor. i, 24; Matth. xv, 9; Col. ii, 20, 22, 23; Gal. ii, 4, 5, and v, 1, 13; Isa. viii, 20; Acts xvii, 11; Hosea v, 11; 1 Cor. v, 1,5, 11, 13; Tit. i. 10, 11, 13, and iii, 20; Matth. xviii, 15-17; Deut. xiii, 6-12; Ezek. vii, 23, 25, 26; Zech. xiii, 2, 3; Rev. ii, 2, 14, 15, 20; Confess, chap. 20; Larg. Cat. quest. 100, 103; Sh. Cat. quest. 49, 50.

XIV. OF TESTIMONY-BEARING.–Again, they declare and assert, that all true believers, members of the church invisible, are by the indissoluble bond of the Spirit, and true faith in Christ, their Head, savingly united unto, and have communion with him in grace and in glory, in this life and the life to come. In all their afflictions he is afflicted, and shares with them in their sufferings and trials, is with them in and through death, exalteth them at last over all their enemies, receiving them into glory and blessedness with himself, that they may behold and share in his glory with him through eternity: and that all of them being knit and joined together in holy love and affection, do participate mutually of each others gifts and graces; and are indispensably bound to exercise themselves in the practice of all commanded duties, for preserving the love of God, and life of grace, in their own, and one another’s souls. And further, they declare that the visible church, and the members thereof, are externally in covenant with Christ their Head, have one and the same Lord, profess the same faith in doctrine and worship, receive the same seals of God’s covenant, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper: and are thereby bound to hold fast the Head, to be subject to his authority, keep the faith they have received, and maintain an holy communion and fellowship in the worship of God; closely abiding by the standard of Christ, their captain and leader, and lifting up the banner of divine truth, in opposition unto, and holy contempt of all their enemies of every kind. And further, they affirm, that as the visible church in general, is bound to be faithful to Christ, their Head and Lord, and to preserve inviolate, the whole of that sacred _depositum_ of truth wherewith she is intrusted by him, not quitting with, nor willfully apostatizing from the same, in profession or practise: so no particular subject of this spiritual kingdom of Christ can recede from any part of divine truth, which they have received, and whereof they have made profession, without lese-majesty unto the Son of God, and violation of their obligations they have come under, at receiving the seals of the covenant, with whatever other lawful vows they have made unto the Most High; according to 1 John i, 2, 3; Eph. iii, 16-19; John i, 16; Heb. x, 24, 25; Acts ii, 42, 46; Eph. iv, 4-6; Phil. iii, 16; Rev. ii, 25, and iii, 3; Confess, chap. 2, 6; Larg. Cat. quest. 63; Short. Cat. quest. 50.

XV. OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT.–They likewise affirm and declare, that the Lord Jesus Christ, our exalted Immanuel, the sole and supreme Head, Lawgiver and King of his church, which is his spiritual and absolutely free and independent kingdom, has herein warranted, instituted and appointed certain office-bearers (who derive their mission and authority from him alone) to regulate, administer, judge and determine in all the affairs of his house, to whom alone the keys of the kingdom of heaven are by him committed. Particularly, they are intrusted with the key of doctrine, to discover the mind of God, and preach Christ crucified unto sinners; the key of government for preserving that beauty of order, purity and power in the house of God, which he has enjoined should take place therein; the key of discipline, to inflict ecclesiastical censures upon such as turn aside after their _crooked ways_, or continue obstinate in their offenses; the key of ordination and mediate mission, in ordinary circumstances of the church, solemnly to set apart and send forth church officers unto that sacred function and official trust in the house of God, on the regular trial of the suitableness of their gifts and qualifications for that spiritual service and ministration; according to 1 Cor. xii, 28; Eph. iv, 11; Matth. xviii, 19; John xx, 23; Matth. xviii, 18; Acts xv, throughout, and xvi, 4; Matth. xxviii, 19, 20; Mark xvi, 15; Acts vi, 6; 1 Tim. iv, 14, and iii, 10; Confess, chap 30, Sec. 2, 3 and 31; Sec. 3. Form of church government, books of discipline, and the several laudable acts and constitutions of this church; particularly, _Act_ of _Assem._ at _Edinburgh, August_ 4th, 1649, _Sess._ 4, entitled, _Directory for electing of ministers_.

They likewise assert and maintain, that the Lord Jesus Christ, the church’s glorious Head, hath appointed a certain form of government therein, distinct from civil government, and not at all subordinate to civil rulers. And that the only ecclesiastical government warranted by Christ is his word, and to continue in his church unalterable, is Presbyterial church government, exclusive of all superior dignity above a teaching presbyter, and consisting in her judicative capacity of kirk-sessions, in subordination to presbyteries; of presbyteries, in subordination to provincial synods; of provincial synods, in subordination to national; and national to ecumenical assemblies, or general councils.

And further, they assert, that the office-bearers of the Lord’s house, are, according to the command, and in the name and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Lawgiver and King of his church, and by virtue of the church’s intrinsic power derived from Christ, to assemble, constitute and adjourn these several courts of his house, nominate the fixed or occasional times of their subsequent meetings, as the church’s condition or exigencies require; although they grant that the Christian magistrate may, in extraordinary cases, or otherwise, call together a synod of ministers, and ether fit persons, for consultation and advice in religious matters: but in which they have no power to judge or determine in matters of faith; but only discretively to examine, whether the synod’s determinations and decisions be consonant and agreeable to scripture, and accordingly to acquiesce therein; Isa. ix, 6, 7; Ezek. xliii, 10, 11; Acts xv, 2, 4, 6; 1 Tim. v, 17; Heb. xiii, 17; 2 Chron. xix, 8-11; Acts xvii, 11; Confess, chap. 30, Sec. 1 and chap. 31, Sec. 1, 2, and conform to act of assembly, anno 1647; Sec. 2,3; 2d book of discipline, and propositions for church government.

They likewise assert and maintain, that the office-bearers in the church of Christ, according to their different places and stations therein, must give evidence of their being possessed in some suitable measure of the qualifications which God in his word requires to be in any that are to be placed in such stations or offices, particularly that of devotedness to the cause and honor of Christ. And they further assert, that ministers of the gospel, and other church officers, must enter into the exercise of their office, at the door of Christ’s appointment, by the call and choice of the Christian people, who are capable with judgment to give their consent; 1 Tim. iii, from verse 2 to 12; Tit. i, 5, 6, 7; Acts vi, 2 to 6; Chap, xiv, 23; John x, 4, 5, and agreeable to the laudable acts and ordinances of this church and state, in favor of reformation principles, books of discipline, &c.

XVI. OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT.–In like manner they assert and maintain, that God Almighty, the Sovereign Lord of all things, and special protector and preserver of his professed subjects in this lower world, hath for his own glory and the public good, authorized and instituted in his word the office and ordinance of civil government and governors, for the preservation of external peace and concord, administration of justice, defense and encouragement of such as are, and do good, and punishment of evil doers, who transgress either table of the law. For all which ends, subordinate unto that of his own glory, God, the alone supreme fountain of all power, has instituted and appointed this ordinance. And further they maintain, that a due measure of those qualifications which God, the great lawgiver requires in his word, together with what other stipulations according to the same unerring rule, a Christian people, who are blessed with the light of divine revelation, have made the fundamental conditions of civil government among them, are essentially necessary to the constitution and investiture of lawful authority over such a people. No other but such a constitution and investiture, can either be approven of by God, or answer the ends, ultimate or subordinate, of this ordinance, unto the honor of the great institutor, as appears from Prov. viii, 15, 16; Psa. cxlvii, 19, 20, and cxlix, G, 7, 8, 9; Isa. xlix, 23; Rom. xiii, 1, 2, 3, 4; Deut. xvii, 14, 15; 2 Sam. xxiii, 2, 3, 4; Exod. xviii, 21. Confess, chap. 23, Sec. 1. Seasonable warning by the general assembly, July 27, 1649. Act 15, Sess. 2, Parl. 1, 1640.

They further assert and maintain, that the constituting of the relation betwixt rulers and ruled, is voluntary and mutual; and that the lawful constitution of civil magistrates, is, by the mutual election of the people (in whom is the radical right, or intermediate voice of God, of choosing and appointing such as are to sway the scepter of government over them) and consent of those who are elected and chosen for the exercise of that office, with certain stipulations according to scripture and right reason, obliging each other unto the duty of their different stations and relations. And further they affirm that when magistrates are so constituted, Christians are bound by the law of God to pray for the divine blessing upon their persons and government, reverence and highly esteem them, yield a conscientious subjection and obedience to their lawful commands, defend and support them in the due exercise of their power; which power magistrates are especially to exert for the outward defense of the church of God, against all her external enemies, restraining or otherwise punishing, as the case may require, all open blasphemers, idolaters, false-worshipers, heretics, with all avowed contemners of the worship and discipline of the house of God; and by his civil sanction to corroborate all the laws and ordinances of Christ’s house, providing and enjoining that every thing in the house of the God of heaven, be done according to the law of the God of heaven; Deut. xvii, 14; 2 Kings xi, 17; 1 Sam. xi, 15; 1 Tim. ii, 1,2; 1 Peter ii, 17; Rom xiii, 2 to 8; 2 Kings xviii, 4, and xxiii, 1 to 26; 2 Chron. xxix, and xxx, chapters throughout; Ezra vii, 23. Confess. chap. 23, Sec. 3, coronation oath of Scotland, sworn and subscribed by Charles II. at Scone, January 1st, 1651, and oath of fidelity by the people.

XVII. OF CORRUPTIONS IN THE TWO PRECEDING ORDINANCES.–But, with respect to these two great ordinances of divine institution, the magistracy and ministry, with the qualifications of the persons and duty of the people, as before asserted, the Presbytery reject, like as they did, and hereby